In an effort to put a piece of bubble gum on the fuse Kobe Bryant lit last night, Mitch Kupchak released an official statement to address Kobe’s stance on the Pau Gasol trade talks. Taking the high road, being diplomatic and of course asserting his business acumen Kupchak issued the following statement prior to tonight’s tip at Staples.
“As a former player, I understand how the days leading up to the trade deadline can be nerve-wracking for an NBA player. Nonetheless, as General Manager of the Lakers, I have a responsibility to ownership, our fans and the players on this team to actively pursue opportunities to improve the team for this season and seasons to come. To say publicly that we would not do this would serve no purpose and put us at a competitive disadvantage. Taking such a course of action at this time would be a disservice to ownership, the team and our many fans.”
In other words, the Lakers aren’t going to say anything about the specifics of trading Gasol because that would affect his trade value and would, in turn, do the team no favors in their efforts to improve. Continuing on or crash course in reading between the lines it is clear that Kupchak is actively pursuing any and every deal available. He’s also putting the ball back in Bryant’s court by playing the “disservice to our many fans” card.
Well played, Mitch.
The statement doesn’t exactly jive with what Kupchak told Sports Illustrated the other day, claiming the Lakers were going to stand pat with the current roster. Unless we were supposed to read between the lines on that one too. I guess Mitch meant the team is standing pat until the right deal comes along.
Both KB24 and GM Mitch are correct in their logic and handling of the situation. Bryant is in the trenches every night so it’s not likely you’ll see him take the time to put together a thoughtful take, call a press conference and reveal his true feelings. Kobe is going to use whatever platform he can when he can. That’s all this schedule allows for.
As for Kupchak, he did well to take his time in responding. Not to mention he did the diplomatic thing by touching all the bases and reasserting himself as general manager of this franchise.
All that said this does nothing to help one way or the other. Bryant still has no closure which means Pau is still sleeping with one eye open. Kupchak is still stuck trying to take these bitter lemons and squeeze sweet lemonade out of them. Neither helps to win a title.